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Five hearings finish NEC's election task

Five hearings finish NEC's election task

The National Election Committee (NEC) heard the last five remaining election complaints

on September 10 and 11. The cases were filed by the election monitoring organization

Comfrel, the Cambodian People's Party (CPP) and the Sam Rainsy Party (SRP). It marked

the end of the NEC's hearings.

On September 10, the NEC ruled against SRP deputy secretary general Meng Rita about

a five million riel ($1,250) fine imposed by the Kep Provincial Election Committee

(PEC). Rita was charged with defamation for calling a provincial security official

a "Vietnamese puppet" . He walked out of the hearing room immediately after

the decision.

The NEC also ruled on two decisions made by the PEC in Kampong Cham.

Comfrel won a complaint against CPP commune council chief Hun Hieng for preventing

a Comfrel representative from renting video equipment to screen election education

materials. The NEC deleted Hieng from the voting roster for five years.

In another case, Sam Rainsy challenged the validity of a 10 million riel ($2,500)

fine levied against him for charges of vote buying among 66 families. NEC chairman

Im Suosdey stated that the PEC had made legal mistakes and the money was actually

given to people for the purpose of flood relief. The fine was voided.

The second hearing on September 11 overturned two decisions made by the PEC in Kampong

Speu.

In one case, the SRP was fined five million riel ($1,250) for interfering with a

CPP campaign rally after two foreigners removed microphones from the party's sound

equipment. The plaintiffs were absent during the hearing, but the NEC struck down

the fine.

The second case involved two CPP village chiefs who sought to overturn a PEC decision

that deleted them from the voting lists for five years. Both of the plaintiffs agreed

to drop their complaints following negotiations.

NEC received a total of 389 complaints during the election period. The SRP filed

297 of those, the most out of any party. It rejected 110 complaints as they did not

meet the NEC's legal criteria. In addition, 1,804 complaints were resolved by the

country's 24 PECs. The Constitutional Council dismissed three brought to it by Funcinpec

and the SRP because it declared them beyond the scope of their "competence"

Comfrel executive director Koul Panha praised the NEC's efforts to prevent election

violations, but said not enough attention was paid to complaints related to politics,

vote counting and voter registration.

"For serious cases, the NEC dares not to use its power," he said. "Parties

don't trust it." He added that the NEC performed better in this election than

the last vote in 1998.

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